Fall Arrest Equipment
Fall arrest systems are vital to working at height, and it’s important to choose the right system for your application.
Here, we’ll discuss what to look for when choosing a fall arrest system for your employees.
What is Fall Arrest Equipment?
Fall arrest equipment is any form of protection that stops a fall while it’s already in progress. For instance, if a worker falls from height, a harness can stop their fall short, preventing serious injury.
Fall arrest equipment comes in two categories: personal and general.
Personal fall arrest systems (PFAS)
Personal fall arrest equipment is the most common type of fall arrest found in workplaces. It typically consists of four parts:
- Anchorage, which is a component to which the system is affixed, such as a lifeline
- Bodywear, such as a harness
- Connector, which connects the harness to the anchorage
- Deceleration device, which slows falls and dissipates energy, preventing injury
For example, a full-body harness connected to a lifeline by a solid lanyard would constitute a personal fall arrest system. Each person working at height should wear one to prevent injuries in the unlikely event that they fall.
General fall arrest systems
A general fall arrest system is any safety measure put in place to stop falls. For instance, a safety net set up below a working scaffold would constitute a general fall arrest system.
Fall Arrest Equipment Applications
Fall arrest equipment is recommended for any scenario in which personnel are working at height. The greater the height, the more important fall protection becomes, though it should be considered for any elevation that could result in serious injury.
Common applications of fall arrest equipment include:
- Building maintenance
- Roofing and roof maintenance
- Ships and shipping
Components of Effective Fall Arrest Systems
When buying fall arrest equipment for your workforce, it’s important to ensure it satisfies the demands of working at height, including being able to withstand the forces generated by a fall. As such, look for the following.
During a fall, the person falling exerts a great deal of force on their fall protection equipment, so it’s important to make sure it can withstand those forces. One way is through energy absorption.
Devices that absorb the shock of falls are referred to by OSHA as deceleration devices, and they include such items as self-retracting or shock-absorbing lanyards. With the use of deceleration devices, the process of stopping a fall in progress exerts less strain on the wearer of the equipment.
There are also strict standards in place on how much weight the different components of fall arrest equipment should be able to hold. For example, vertical lifelines should be designed to withstand 5,000 pounds of force per user.
There are regulations on how certain components should be built and what types of materials should be used. For example, OSHA specifies that D-rings and other connectors should be drop forged, corrosion-resistant, and free of sharp edges.
Choosing the Right Fall Protection
To choose the right fall protection for your work area, consider these factors:
- Weights/loads involved
- Distance from nearby objects, including those below
- Whether a vertical lifeline or horizontal (with two fixed points) would be appropriate
- Anchorage options
Scaffolding Solutions delivers high-quality services and products with an emphasis on safety. Let us help you select the best fall arrest equipment for your application to ensure safety and productivity on your job site.